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Tucker Carlson went on an overtly racist tirade against a Tennessee state lawmaker on Wednesday night, suggesting Democratic Rep. Justin Pearson speaks like a “sharecropper” and got into college only because he’s Black.
Pearson is one of two Black lawmakers recently expelled from the state legislature by the GOP supermajority for joining protesters who chanted in the House chamber in support of gun control following a school shooting that left six people dead in Nashville last month. Pearson was reinstated Wednesday by the Shelby County Board of Commissioners in Memphis, and state Rep. Justin Jones was reinstated Monday by Nashville’s Metro Council.
In a Fox News segment attacking Pearson and other Democrats for what he called “mimicking civil rights leaders,” Carlson said Pearson had changed his demeanor over the years from that of a “crypto white kid” into “the “modern incarnation of Martin Luther King Jr. himself.”
“Pearson has been in the news recently for helping to facilitate an insurrection at the Tennessee State House,” Carlson said.
He played a video Pearson had filmed in 2016 when he was campaigning for student body president at Bowdoin College. In Carlson’s estimation, in that video, Pearson was trying to act like a white person.
“Justin Pearson wasn’t white. That’s probably how we got into Bowdoin in the first place,” he said, referring to the private liberal arts college in Maine. “But he did a fantastic impression of it .... That was the old Justin Pearson, before his ‘transition.’”
Tucker Carlson suggests Tennesse Rep. Justin Pearson speaks like a "sharecropper" when compared to Malcolm X who spoke "dignified standard English" pic.twitter.com/TDqHyBsI7h
— nikki mccann ramírez (@NikkiMcR) April 13, 2023
“You got to ask yourself, as long as we’re mimicking civil rights leaders who died almost 60 years ago, why not some variety?” Carlson added after showing a video of Pearson speaking passionately on the House floor last week ahead of the vote to expel him.
“You never see politicians transitioning to say, Malcolm X. Why is that? Maybe because Malcolm X didn’t talk like a sharecropper. He spoke dignified standard English,” Carlson said.
It’s not unusual for Carlson to make racist comments and embrace white supremacist talking points on his show, one of the most-watched cable news programs in the country. He’s repeatedly promoted the racist “great replacement” conspiracy theory, which claims that white Christian Americans are being intentionally replaced by immigrants, people of color and non-Christians. Once, on a radio show in 2008, he called people from Iraq “semiliterate primitive monkeys.”
Carlson’s full comments about Pearson can be viewed below.